Ed Shaw Law - Brainerd Attorney
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Offices in St. Cloud and Brainerd, serving all surrounding areas
Coronavirus Impact and Assurance: Yes! We are still open for business!

As you are all aware, we are currently facing unique challenges due to the Coronavirus. While this is a serious crisis, it is important to keep it in perspective, and not allow it to prevent us from going about our business. We want to assure all of our clients that this office is prepared to serve your needs, regardless of what happens and how the virus affects Minnesota. In an effort to keep the office safe, we have stepped up prevention and sanitation measures in hopes to prevent disease transmission.

Because we are a paperless office, our entire staff is prepared to work from home if necessary. No matter what happens, we will continue to provide our clients with the highest quality legal services. For any clients who are not comfortable leaving their homes, we can handle any appointments remotely via phone, FaceTime, Skype, Zoom , and can transfer any documents to you electronically or by mail, if that is your preference.

Please rest assured, we will continue to take care of your legal needs in this challenging time, and your safety is our highest priority.

Please see our blog for more info on pandemic response.

Guardian ad litem: Weak link in family law cases?

| Oct 13, 2016 | Custody, Family Law, Parents Rights

I have written before about the serious problems with the guardian ad litem program in this area. For those of you who have not worked with a guardian, their job, in a nutshell is to investigate child custody or visitation dispute and make a recommendation to the court about where a child should live, and how often they should see their parents.

The City Pages, a newspaper out of the twin cities ran a story about the need for major reforms to the Guardian ad Litem program, focusing on the metro area. Unfortunately, most of the problems identified in the story exist here to. Guardians are inadequately trained, they are only required to complete a 40 hour program, they are rarely held accountable, there is no independent authority where complaints can be made, and judges usually follow the recommendation of the guardian.

No one wants to make custody decisions in contested cases, it is easy for the court system to defer the decision making to guardians in most cases. The problem is that guardians, despite having good intentions in most cases, are frankly not qualified to make many of the recommendations that they make. The court system needs to either make significant improvements to the guardian program to make it able to do the job it is given, or stop relying on it. Entrusting the most important job in the legal system to people who are often not qualified to do it as we are doing now is the worst case scenario.